This index contains records which were extracted from the minutes of 300 meetings from the East Coast to Nebraska. These meetings are not included in the Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol. I-VI, 1607-1940.
They are primarily from meetings in Indiana (86 meetings), Iowa (84 meetings), Kansas (49 meetings), Pennsylvania (13 meetings), and New Jersey (4 meetings). There are also extracts from a few meetings in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. If you do not find your ancestor’s meeting in this collection, you will need to consult the original minutes for that meeting, because they were not included in the project.
William Wade Hinshaw
W.W. Hinshaw (1867–1947) was raised by Quaker parents in Union, IA. He rose to fame in the music world, enjoying a career in the world of opera, touring the United States and Canada, performing in concerts from 1890 to 1918. At one point, he was the leading baritone at the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York.
Hinshaw devoted the final 20 years of his life to gathering and compiling Quaker records which contained detailed and important genealogical data before they were lost, destroyed, or decayed. Hinshaw’s plan was to collect and compile the data from all of the thousands of Quaker records in existence and make the data accessible other Quaker descendants. He did not live to see this work completed and at his passing, his wife gave the entire collection of thousands of type-written index cards to Swarthmore College Friends Historical Library. The collection is housed in a card file that covers a 20-foot-long wall in the small library.
What Is a Monthly Meeting?
The Quaker religion in the United States was organized into geographical regions that at times could cover an entire state or even several states. At the top of the organization chart was the Yearly Meeting, typically named for the state or large city around which congregations were clustered: i.e., Philadelphia Yearly Meeting or Indiana Yearly Meeting.
Belonging to these Yearly Meetings were Quarterly Meetings located within the geographical jurisdiction of the Yearly Meeting, like several dioceses belonging to an archdiocese. Below the Quarterly Meetings was were Monthly Meetings which met every month for business. Monthly Meeting minutes are considered to have the records with the most genealogical value.
Dates in many of the entries are recorded according to the Quakers’ system. Quakers found the use of traditional names for months and days against their Christian values since the names of the days of the weeks and most of the names of the months derived from “pagan” deities. So they devised a numerical system; First Day was Sunday, Second Day was Monday, Third Day for Tuesday, etc. First month, Second Month, Third Month substituted for the names of months.
Please keep in mind that before England changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, the year officially began in March. Thus First month, 1751 is March, not January. Since the English and English colonists in America were aware that many nations by this time used January 1st for the beginning of the new year, dates in January and February were often written as 1740/1741, meaning if one assumed the year began in January, the year was 1741, but if one was using the official English system, the year did not begin until March, so the year was still 1740. Be careful in transcribing the dates you see. We have made every effort to provide both the Quaker terms and the traditional dates in the hopes of being clear on what was recorded at the time. The majority of the records should contain a Quaker date and a translated date.